Friday, June 1, 2012

Kicks: Day Seven (Thanks, Mister!)

IMG_3638smThis morning, we got a brief workout in (I definitely could have slept another half an hour, but it was worth pushing myself a little bit), and then headed out. We tooled around Oklahoma City a bit and I was able to get some more great signage. In fact, I got even more today, so this entry is going to go heavy on the googie. Laurel and Ron told us that the Oklahoma City Memorial was very moving and worth seeing, so we headed downtown to see that.

It is definitely recommended, if you’re ever in the area. The most poignant memorials are able to touch you and evoke memories and emotions; this memorial did both. The expanse of empty “chairs” were a reminder of how many were lost that day, and the Gates of Time were powerful. 9:01, the minute before the explosion, represented innocence. 9:03, the minute after the blast, represented a loss of innocence. Very moving, and I’m glad we went.

That first picture up there is from a hamburger joint in Oklahoma City. I’m not sure how old the sign is, but it looks like it has some wear and tear on it. Even if it’s a fairly new sign, it’s a dandy. It’s huge, and I love the happy little chef! (As always, click on any picture to embiggenize.)

I don’t recall exactly where Mutts Amazing Hot Dogs is at, but it’s in either Warr Acres or Bethany. This is possibly a newer sign as well, but if so, they’ve done a good job on it. The “bubble” strip on the side, the stunted starburst at the top, and the atomic sparkles are all great elements, and it’s a very pretty sign.

The Carlyle is in Warr Acres, just outside of OKC, and it’s in good shape, with some nice slanted rectangular forms.


The Western Motel is in Bethany, and this has the stone base, with some slanted rectangles, and it’s all topped off with a sassy cowboy hat! Oh, and it’s air-conditioned!


The Glancy Motor Hotel is in Clinton, and it’s also another large sign. Nice amoeba and arrow/boomerang on this one. The railings on the balcony of one section of this motel also had some nice detail, with multi-colored diamonds as part of the rails. I would have gotten a picture, but this was a long-term rental place, and there were people sitting out on the stairs. I don’t want to seem too creepy or intrusive when I’m taking these sign pictures. These old motels are often converted into apartments.

Canute sits a little to the south of OK 66, but the old route goes through downtown, and it’s worth the little side trip just for the Cotton Boll and Washita Motel signs. I love the Cotton Boll!

We got to our final destination today, Elk City, in time to walk through the Route 66 National Museum. We were both a tad disappointed. The state park visitor’s center in Eureka, Missouri had a better display of artifacts. This museum was more of a staged display of situations than a true, detailed history. We also felt that the two staffers we encountered were a little on the chilly side. Ken said that that’s the difference between it being your job and being something you love. I think that hit the nail on the head. We’ve encountered so many nice people so far, and they truly love the Road and are enthusiastic about it, and are happy to chat with you. These ladies were like yeah, whatever, three bucks, go through there. I have to say that the Route 66 National Museum needs to think about public relations, and get some people in there who want to engage the public and be good ambassadors instead of soulless automatons. It left a bad taste in our mouths, and I think that’s the first time that has happened on this trip so far.

To backtrack a bit...El Reno was a neat stop outside of OKC, because we stopped at a little place called Gilmore’s Pub for lunch. Just a little hole in the wall kind of place, with huge ashtrays on each table...yuck! At least no one was smoking right around us. But they have a kitchen next door, and we had some really good sandwiches—a ribeye steak sandwich for Ken, and a grilled chicken for me. I had potato salad instead of fries, and DANG, was it good! (One of the cooks took our order, and after he took mine, he asked my name. I said, “Beth,” and he wrote that down. He took Ken’s order, and asked Ken’s name. Ken said, “Ken,” and the guy said, as he wrote it down, “Kenny.” heeheehee) For some odd reason, one of the guys at the bar bought us both a beer (thanks, mister!). We thought it was this one guy, and thanked him on our way out, but he said, “Oh, that wasn’t was that guy down there.” We thanked HIM on the way out, and we still have no idea why he bought us a beer. But if you ever stop in El Reno, go to Gilmore’s Pub, because they seem to be a pretty friendly bunch!


Almost the entire Road out of Oklahoma City was some of the best we’ve encountered so far. The majority of it is the original Portland concrete (I really need to look that up, if I haven’t mentioned that already), and much of it has the rolled curbs, which you can see clearly in the above picture. This is 1930’s-era original pavement, and it is still in incredible shape. There were so few cars on this stretch that we were able to stand out in the middle of the road and get pictures...including one of this fellow who stopped in the roadway. That’s a buzzard, and I wonder if he was trying to tell us something...!

One of my favorite things today was encountering the ruins of Kobel’s Place, at the intersection of 66 and 44, near Foss, Oklahoma. It was a gas station/cafe/bus stop back in the day, but it is very dilapidated now. The concrete of the lot is still there, but it is buckled and broken by the large tree; the roof has fallen in on most of it. I walked around the back—sending dozens of grasshoppers hopping and flying away as I walked—and saw that it has a basement (spooky!!), but the floor has also fallen in, so everything has just fallen through into the basement. I’m adventurous, but I wasn’t foolish enough to head down to that basement! Hey, I’ve seen plenty of horror movies!

One section of it sat on a slab, and although that roof was also in bad shape, I was able to get in there and poke around a bit. I didn’t venture in very far, though. If something looks unstable and unsafe (this was both...times two), I don’t take chances.

After a couple of nights of not enough sleep, I think we’re both looking forward to an early night tonight (not that there seems to be a whole lot to do in Elk City!). Tomorrow we’re heading for Texas—yeeeehaw!—and staying in Amarillo. We will be traversing the Llano Estacado, something I learned about from Shane. It’s been fascinating to see the different terrain as we continue west. I’m guessing that the switch to desert climate is really going to knock me for a loop!


  1. It was nice to end a bit earlier today, but here it is still well into the evening before we post. Guess we will always be night-owls and NOT morning people.

  2. It sounds like you didn't make it to the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton, and I'm sorry you didn't. It's the premiere Route 66 museum in the country and has just been redone (had grand reopening just a week ago). Oh well, it's a good thing to remember for your next visit. I love your commentary on everything you've seen thus far!

  3. There used to be a road trip show that I listened to as a kid on NPR. This one of Old Route 66 you and Ken are on certainly would qualify.

    The buzzard would have creeped me out a wee bit until I had traveled out of the range of its evil mystical powers! I think it was neat that the guy wrote out the more relaxed, "Kenny" instead of "Ken". Sure he did not mean anything by it!

    Good Travels!


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